Gerry Duggan and Pepe Larraz’s X-Men has been a complicated series, vacillating between being purely a fluff book and actually progressing some plot forward. The title hit its high thus far with X-Men #7 and for a moment, it felt like the book had finally found its footing. Though this week’s X-Men #9 isn’t bad by any means, the series still hasn’t quite hit the highs of X-Men #7 since, and it feels like the title is still trying to decide what it wants to be. X-Men #9 feels indecisive in that way.
SPOILERS AHEAD for X-Men #9!
There are some highs, like seeing Storm on the Arakko council. Storm was largely wasted for the entire first year of the HOX/POX relaunch, but it’s nice to see the series course-correcting by remembering what makes her such a fan favorite. More Ororo is always a good thing, and seeing the Regent of Sol exercise her diplomatic muscles has been a joy thus far. These scenes also move some plots forward, like the Red Root one.
The Orchis plot also finally gets some forward momentum, and Brand’s involvement is being brought to the table again. But by far, the most interesting parts of X-Men #9 were Rogue and Gambit meeting up with Destiny. It’s a shame we never got a real reunion between Rogue and Destiny and unfortunately, we still have yet to see that emotional reunion since Rogue was cut from Inferno due to the pieces simply not lining up in time. Hopefully, we will get to see more of Rogue and her mothers, as most fans do want to see that — because if Irene had any important ties outside of Raven, Rogue was surely the most important one.
But Destiny meeting Gambit is probably one of the most fun scenes of the Krakoa era to date. It’s clear she only tolerates him even slightly because her daughter is married to him, and it’s creating one of the most enjoyable family dynamics we’ve seen in years from the X-Men. Gambit and Irene are utterly incompatible and it makes for comedy gold.
After reading X-Men #9, one thing is for certain…I could totally read an entire miniseries just about the Darkholmes and Lebeaus.
X-Men #9 does set up the Gameworld issue quite a bit in these scenes, and it’s by far the best part of the issue because its expository elements are actually really fun. CF Villa’s art isn’t too jarring a change from Larraz and it feels like a perfect fit for the X-Men title. His art is part of what makes this issue shine when it does — for a character wearing a gold-plated mask, he manages to make Destiny quite expressive in her scenes with Remy.
At its worst, X-Men #9 is a little slow at times, but at its best, it’s a total blast. However, it does feel less like an X-Men issue since the team isn’t really in it and more like a “here’s some plots going on in mutantland right now…let’s move them along” issue. Though, it is nice to see Rogue get some screen time since she’s been criminally underutilized thus far — and it’s clear the Gameworld plot will use her heavily.
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